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Draft Proposal for establishment of an East Asian Australian Football League

Posted by Vietnam Swans on January 14, 2013

On 10 January, 2013, the Vietnam Swans emailed to each of the other Australian Football Clubs in Asia a proposal to establish an “East Asian Australian Football League” (name of league is subject to discussion) that would commence this year. Below are details of the proposal.

Draft Proposal for the establishment of the EAAFL**

(East Asian Australian Football League – name of the comp subject to discussion)

By Mark Stennett (Vietnam Swans)

10 January 2013

Introduction

Whilst the annual Asian Championships are a highly successful event that showcases the best of Asian football, there is currently no overriding governing league to bind all the clubs together, which, if created would bring structure, uniformity, prestige and increased credibility to Asian football. This proposal lays out a basic structure and roadmap to the creation of such a league.

All ideas presented are just that, and are up for discussion. But, hopefully, with this proposal we have something on which to base that discussion.

Objective

The ultimate objective is to create a formal Australian Rules football league in Asia that encompasses all the teams in the region. The aim would be to play a home and away series throughout the year, maintain a ladder and declare an EAAFL Premier at the conclusion of the series.

A formal league should also enhance visibility and credibility with the AFL in Australia and hopefully increase support for the game throughout the region. Opportunities for regional sponsorship will be created which should also flow on to local sponsors of individual teams.

In addition, each player in the Asian League would become a promotion vehicle for footy in the region. Currently, we all say, “I play for X Club and we play random ad hoc games plus the Asian Champs”. Now, each player for each of the dozen clubs can say, “I play for X Club in the East Asian Australian Football League”. Immediately, we have credibility and multiplied by the number of players in the League, that is a significant reach.

If we do that, we will generate stronger interest from players making it easier to schedule games, generate sponsorship etc.

Current Teams in East Asia

  • Vietnam Swans
  • Malaysian Warriors
  • Singapore Wombats
  • Laos Elephants
  • Cambodian Eagles
  • Thailand Tigers
  • Hong Kong Dragons
  • Jakarta Bintangs
  • Bali Geckos
  • China Reds
  • Philippine Eagles
  • Borneo Bears
  • East Timor
  • Tokyo/Japan Goannas

Interim development steps for 2013..  The EAAFL “light” version

Considering the task ahead the notion of testing the waters with an interim league holds merit with all Asian teams being invited to participate.

The interim league will allow for unforeseen issues as well as improvement opportunities to be dealt with before the full-blown competition starts in 2014.

Critically It will give time for the governing body to get the structure right for 2014 and explore possible links with the Asian Champs.

The Interim League Structure for 2013

The Interim League would, simply mean we create a draw for all participating teams and record the results on a ladder which is updated regularly on a website: scores and match reports, goal kickers etc . We will then have a league leader at the end of the year that can be awarded the premiership (at the Asian Champs?).

Assuming enough teams sign up, each team will play four official League games throughout the year (prior to the Asian Champs) against 4 different teams. To manage travel and for equality the league would try and schedule 2 home and 2 away games.

As many teams will have already set up some international games for 2013, the league will include those games in the draw. Depending on this situation, it’s possible the resultant draw may not be 100% equal but we will just need to live with this for 2013.

All other rules regulations, number of players etc can be left up to each of the competing teams as is the case today. (Standardised rules can then apply from 2014)

The above is a quick and easy way to wrap current games and structures into the banner of an Official League. All else can follow from this.

For the first time, each country will become actively interested in the results of other games as that will affect their own position on the ladder.

We have spoken many times about setting up an Asian Football Website – and each time, what has been set up, has failed. The creation of a League will be the glue that holds it together.

With people taking an active interest in how the League unfolds in 2013, there will be plenty of informed discussion as to how 2014 should be structured. That should increase our chances of implementing a very robust structure in 2014 that works.

2014 and beyond –The Official EAAFL begins

Home and Away Games

Depending on team numbers, the ideal number of games would seem to be four league games per team (TBC). This would be 2 home and 2 away games which still leaves room for other non-official games that clubs might like to play during the year, as well as tournaments such as Manila Cup, Indochina Cup etc.

Each team could be given the option of nominating one round with another team. For example Singapore and Malaysia, if they agree, could regularly play their Changi Cup  game as part of the League – and this would help keep traditions alive. Other marquee games such as the ANZAC Day matches around the region can be incorporated into the official league as well.  This will help us honour and build on existing traditions that are developing in the region.

Initially teams would be free to set the dates of their games with the opposition team although the league draw would determine who plays home and who plays away. Teams may, by mutual consent, agree to switch where they play, however in the event of a conflict the draw remains. If a team fails to tour they forfeit the game and points.

Over time the idea that all league games are played on the same weekend all over Asia is appealing which would occur on average every 6 weeks or so.

Where two teams would normally play each other more than once in a year, (eg Vietnam and Cambodia normally play twice) and they were drawn in the league, then they would simply nominate in advance which game was the official league game)

A fixture, ladder and website will be maintained throughout the year with the results of all the games as well as general league news.

The Rules of the game

Standardised rules would be agreed such as number of players on the field/bench, send off rules, length of quarters etc etc

The Asian Championships

The Asian Champs are the current highlight of the football calendar and the creation of a league would serve to strengthen the tournament and raise it’s profile.

In 2013 the league and the Asian Champs shall remain totally separate events.

During the year (2013) the league governing body will have the opportunity to explore possible links between the league and the Asian Champs for the benefit of all clubs in Asia including those that may not be participating regularly in the league itself.

Governing Body

A very simple structure can be put in place where every team has a representative in the league but a smaller “operating group” taken from those representatives manages the day-to-day issues. There would be a president and various other roles (to be determined).

Non-Participating Clubs

It will be critical in the formation of a league to recognize that not all clubs will have the ability to fully participate in the league home and away series for whatever reason. The inclusion of these clubs in other meaningful ways is critical to the integrity of football in Asia. A core value of the league should be to support new and emerging clubs. The very existence of a league will go some way to achieving this.

Implementation Steps – Immediate

  1. Agree the structure of the Interim 2013 league
  2. Agree a name for the league and logo
  3. Invite all teams to join the league (Jan 11th)
  4. Acceptances received from participating clubs  (Jan 25th)
  5. Each participating team nominates a representative to the leagues governing body
  6. Find out all the existing scheduled games for 2013
  7. Create a draw, circulate and revise if need be.  (Jan 31st)
  8. Create a website (could be a free blogger website to start with)
  9. Create a “operations group” (4 – 5 people) to run the league and importantly, prepare it for 2014.

** The name East Asian Australia Football League currently best reflects the geographical location of all the possible teams that might compete. It is of course up for discussion.

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